Frankfurt Universe knock off Dresden Monarchs, advance to German semifinals

The Frankfurt Universe, in only their second year in the German Football League, scored a playoff upset, defeating the Dresden Monarchs 26-16 in the GFL quarterfinals at Volksbank Stadion in Frankfurt Sunday. With the win, Frankfurt moves on to the semifinals.

With the best defense in Germany, Frankfurt held the Monarchs to 182 yards of offense, and only 21 rushing yards.

Meanwhile, Universe quarterback Jaleel Awini, ran rampant rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 88 yards and another touchdown. Running back Silas Nacita carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown while wide receiver David Giron caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Frankfurt’s defense forced a safety in the fourth quarter and Andre Feuerherdt kicked a late field goal to seal the win.

Monarchs quarterback Garrett Safron had a tough day throwing for 161 yards and a touchdown, far off his average of 231 yards a game. Running back Joe Bergeron scored a touchdown but was held to 47 yards on the day. Sebastien Sagne caught four passes for 80 yards while tight end Mike Schallo caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Florian Finke kicked a 23 yard field goal.

The Frankfurt defense set the tone early, forcing a Dresden punt on the first offensive series. Then Awini went to work, marching his team on an 82 yard drive, and finding Giron for a 32 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

Frankfurt RB Sean Richards Photo: Karlheinz Herbert

Davyon McKinney’s 51 yard kickoff return set Dresden up in excellent field position on Frankfurt’s 40 yard line and Safron got his team untracked throwing a 32 yard touchdown pass to Schallo three plays later to even the score at 7-7.

Dresden’s onside kickoff attempt failed and the Universe took over in Dresden territory. Awini engineered another touchdown drive handing the ball off the Nacita to cap it for a nine yard touchdown, regaining the lead for Frankfurt, 14-7.

The Monarchs had to settle for a field goal from the 10 yard line on the ensuing drive and the half ended 14-10 for the Universe.

Defenses prevailed in the third quarter with neither team able to reach the red zone. But Awini took his team on a 79 yard drive that ate up 6:44 on the clock, finishing it off with a one yard plunge himself, extending the lead to 21-10 early in the fourth quarter.

The Universe’s defense then forced a Dresden safety to increase the lead to 23-10 and giving Frankfurt good field position.

Although Frankfurt’s next drive only produced a field goal, it ate up valuable minutes and made it a two-score game with four minutes remaining for the Monarchs.

This time, Safron took his team on a 78 yard drive in just over two minutes with Bergeron scoring from two yards out. The two-point attempt failed however and it remained a two score contest, 26-16.

The last gasp onside kick attempt didn’t work for Dresden and Frankfurt took over only giving the ball back with three seconds left. and the Universe players began celebrating. Frankfurt now moves to face the undefeated Braunschweig New Yorker Lions this weekend in Braunschweig.

Photos: Karlheinzherbert,  Ilja Peer Tripp, Blurredpics

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.